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How to get the perfect study, work and life balance as an international student

Both your studies and wellbeing should be a priority

An international student in the uni campus making a mug of tea during his break
An international student in the uni campus making a mug of tea during his break

Finding the perfect work-life balance can be tricky enough, but throw study into the mix, and it can sometimes seem like an impossible feat. As an international student, your studies will need to take priority, but not at the cost of your wellbeing and happiness. 

While there’s no golden ratio that works for everyone, there are certain steps you can take to balance your life better. 

Have a routine (but don’t let it control you)  

A consistent routine has its benefits - it keeps us on task, eliminates distractions, and gives a sense of rhythm to the busy life of an international student. Plus, it helps us establish what's important personally and professionally, so we can then tend to those priorities accordingly. 

While having a routine is important, let it be your guide rather than your rulebook. If you need to adjust your schedule, you shouldn’t feel constricted by a firm timetable. You need enough flexibility to be able to say yes to new experiences, but enough discipline and respect for your routine to ensure nothing compromises your studies. 

 A good routine should include your wake-up time, study blocks, physical activity, relaxation and work, but also allow space for unexpected occurrences. Remember, you can’t plan everything. 

Be present and stay focused 

Once you’ve established a balanced routine, the next step is to stick to it, without distractions. After all, what’s the point of having a dedicated study period if you’re just going to be distracted by TikTok? Or, if you’re spending time with friends, do you really want to be stressed, feeling like you haven’t revised enough for your upcoming exams? 

It may be easier said than done, but a great way to stay present in anything you do is to switch off unnecessary notifications on your devices. When you’re socialising or recharging your social battery, switch off emails and avoid using your phone so you can focus on those around you. During study sessions, eliminate the temptation of social media and games by downloading apps like Freedom or Stay Focused, which restrict the use of other apps on your phone for a select period of time.   

By making the most of your study, social and work time, you’ll start to find more balance in your life. 

Three international students walking together to their next class at university

Experiencing psychological issues? 

Studying and starting life in a new country can be difficult and can lead to psychological issues such as stress, difficulty in sleeping, low mood, anxiety and depression. To help you better manage these issues you can access SilverCloud through the nib App, a digital mental health platform used by millions worldwide.  

Your mental health is incredibly important. Not looking after it will start to have negative impacts on your student life and your ability to balance all your priorities. So, remember to take a break now and then.

If you or someone you know needs help now, please call:

If life is in danger, call Australia’s national emergency line on 000 (Triple Zero).